Battle of the brothers one of a handful of intriguing storylines for Friday's Union game against Chivas USA

Battle of the brothers one of a handful of intriguing storylines for Friday's Union game against Chivas USA

Chivas USA and the Philadelphia Union are not rivals, nor is Chivas USA any good. In fact, the “other” team from Los Angels comes into Friday’s game vs. the Union at PPL Park (7:30 p.m., The Comcast Network) with the worst record in the Western Conference.

Normally, then, this might be a blah type of game. But it’s not. It’s actually a game filled with a lot of interesting storylines. Here are five of them:

1. Remember the Farfan twins? Those guys who looked alike and played together for the Union in 2011, 2012 and part of 2013 until one of them – Gabriel – was pulled from the loving embrace of his brother – Michael – and sent to play on the other side of the country? Yeah, well, Gabriel will take the field at PPL Park for the first time since being traded away by that home-wrecking Union manager John Hackworth and will certainly be out for vengeance. And Michael would like nothing more than to destroy Gabriel for that one time when they were kids and he stole his bag of chips (that probably happened, right?). Actually, a couple of days before the game, Michael was spouting out lines like “I’m not going to treat him any differently” and “I don’t think too much about it” … but never mind that! On Friday, Philly will become the City of Brotherly HATE.

2. Another opposing player Union fans will want to watch is new Chivas acquisition Carlos Bocanegra, the former captain of the US national team and the greatest American player whose last name translates to “black mouth.” The 34-year-old defender has been out of MLS for the last nine years but has returned to try to resurrect his career in time, perhaps, for one last shot at the World Cup next summer. And Friday’s game should be his first one back, so maybe don’t boo him quite as much as the other players, Union fans.

3. Speaking of new players, the Union will have their two transfer-window signings available for the first time: German goalkeeper Oka Nikolov and Brazilian defender Fabinho. Both players will likely start their MLS careers in a reserve capacity. But if the starters at their positions – goalie Zac MacMath and left back Ray Gaddis – falter, perhaps they could be called into action. At the very least, it gives the Union a lot more cover on the bench and another Brazilian with one name.

4. The Union will also have a lot more players at their disposal now that Michael Farfan and Danny Cruz are healthy after missing Saturday’s 1-0 loss in Houston. One more player who could return from injury is Kleberson, the other Brazilian with one name  who hasn’t played since June 1 because of what was originally believed to be a mild quad strain. If he can get back on the field, it will add a different element to the Union’s attack. If not, the team’s midfield play could still be an issue, even with Farfan and Cruz back in the lineup.

5. Picking up the three points is obviously critical for the Union, considering they’re coming off a tough road trip and are playing one of the league’s worst teams at home. There’s also another benefit: handing Chivas a loss could help Philly’s draft hopes in 2014 as they hold Chivas’s first-round pick from the Farfan trade.

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

Best of NBA: Rockets overcome Russell Westbrook's 7th straight triple-double

OKLAHOMA CITY -- James Harden scored 21 points, and the Houston Rockets overcame Russell Westbrook's seventh consecutive triple-double to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 102-99 on Friday night.

Harden also had 12 assists and nine rebounds to help the Rockets win their fifth straight. Houston withstood Harden's 6-for-23 shooting effort.

Westbrook finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. He has the longest triple-double streak since Michael Jordan had seven straight in 1989. The most in a row is nine by Philadelphia's Wilt Chamberlain in March 1968.

It was Westbrook's 12th triple-double this season and the 49th of his career. He is the NBA's active leader in the category and ranks sixth all-time.

The Thunder had won the previous six games during Westbrook's triple-double binge (see full story).

James moves into 9th on scoring list as Cavs top Heat
CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 27 points to move into ninth place on the NBA scoring list, and the Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the Miami Heat 114-84 on Friday night.

James passed Elvin Hayes on a driving layup with 6:58 remaining and has 27,315 career points. The four-time MVP was removed about a minute later and received a loud ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Kevin Love, a game-time decision because of back spasms, scored a team-high 28 points and had 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers. He missed the morning shootaround but was in the lineup after warming up on the court about an hour before tip-off.

Kyrie Irving added 23 points for the Cavs, who have won three straight after losing three in a row.

Derrick Williams scored 17 points to lead the short-handed Heat, who have lost four straight (see full story). 

Schroder has career-high 33, Hawks rally past Bucks
MILWAUKEE -- Dennis Schroder scored a career-high 33 points and the Atlanta Hawks rallied from 20 down in the second half to defeat the Milwaukee Bucks 114-110 on Friday night.

Paul Millsap had 23 points and 14 rebounds for Atlanta. Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18.

The Hawks, who ended a seven-game losing streak Wednesday with a win over Miami, trailed by 20 at halftime. A 40-point third quarter put them back in the game.

Jabari Parker scored 27 for Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo, in foul trouble throughout the game, had 14.

Atlanta pulled ahead 105-103 on Kyle Korver's jumper with 3:15 remaining, giving the Hawks their first lead since early in the game (see full story). 

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

Best of NHL: Blue Jackets top Red Wings to notch 5th straight win

DETROIT -- Brandon Dubinsky scored a tiebreaking goal in the second period and the surging Columbus Blue Jackets won their fifth straight game, 4-1 over the Detroit Red Wings on Friday night.

Lukas Sedlak got his first NHL goal for the Blue Jackets, who have earned at least a point in 12 of their last 13 games. Cam Atkinson contributed a short-handed goal in the first period for Columbus.

Dylan Larkin's power-play goal in the second was the only scoring of the night for the Red Wings. Sergei Bobrovsky had 32 saves for the Blue Jackets.

Sam Gagner scored into an empty net with 13.9 seconds remaining (see full story). 

Staal scores in 6th round of SO to lift Wild over Oilers
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal scored in the sixth round of a shootout and the Minnesota Wild beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Friday night.

Matt Dumba and Jason Zucker scored in regulation for Minnesota, which has won three straight.

Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk made 25 saves. He entered with a league-best .946 save percentage and 1.65 goals-against average.

Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had goals for the Oilers, whose four-game losing streak began with a 2-1 home overtime loss to the Wild last Sunday.

Staal scored on a backhand deke before Nugent-Hopkins fired wide in the sixth round (see full story). 

Raanta, Rangers beat Blackhawks, 1-0, in overtime
CHICAGO -- Nick Holden scored 55 seconds into overtime, Antti Raanta made 26 saves against his former team and the New York Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 1-0 on Friday night.

Derek Stepan passed from the boards to a streaking Holden in the middle of the ice, and he beat Scott Darling on the stick side for his fourth goal of the season.

Darling was going for his second straight shutout while subbing for injured starter Corey Crawford but had to settle for another solid performance.

Raanta, who made his NHL debut with Chicago in 2013 and played for the Blackhawks for two seasons before he was traded to New York, improved to 15-0-3 in 20 career appearances at the United Center.

The 27-year-old Raanta had 17 saves in Thursday's 2-1 victory at Winnipeg, and coach Alain Vigneault opted to give him a second straight start over Henrik Lundqvist because of his recent play and his success in Chicago (see full story).

Oshie, Johansson, Grubauer lift Caps over Sabres
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- T.J. Oshie and Marcus Johansson each scored a goal, Philipp Grubauer made 27 saves and the Washington Capitals beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Jakub Vrana and John Carlson also scored, helping Washington beat Buffalo for the third time in 15 days.

Kyle Okposo scored and Robin Lehner made 25 saves for Buffalo. The Sabres have lost three of their last four.

Oshie gave the Capitals a 1-0 lead 6:43 into the second period when he lifted a shot from the right edge of the crease past Lehner. Jay Beagle drew two defenders into the corner and sent the puck back to a wide open Oshie for his ninth goal of the season (see full story).